Bonsai Kapilaas : Correct Cut While shaping a Bonsai plant


Mar 29, 2019

Correct Cut While shaping a Bonsai plant

Giving proper shape to a Bonsai plant is most important chapter in Bonsai Art. All Bonsai lovers will think of having a beautiful Bonsai. Beauty to comes to the plant through correct training and pruning methods. They have significant role in giving a pleasing look to a Bonsai plant.  
Training a Bonsai tree is Cutting at correct place that is node of the plant where the leaf starts growing.  Knowing about  function of  the node is more important before making a cut on a Bonsai plant. All plants have nodes and inter nodes. Nodes and inter nodes are important parts of Plant Biology.  Appropriate growth of Bonsai plant  dependents on correct cut at a proper node of the plant.   Without nodes, the plant cannot develop leaves or branches. Even hardwood deciduous trees like Oaks, with life spans of more than 5000 years, and annuals and perennials of herbaceous plants, have nodes and inter nodes. 

Below photo shows nodes and Inter nodes of a plant. Here the space between two consecutive nodes  more. Most of the plants have long inter nodes, i.e, here in below picture the space between two consecutive nodes is considerable.

The difference species of plants have different inter nodal spaces. The Space between Two consecutive nodes that is between two leaves is very less in below photographs. These plant are having very less inter nodal space.

Nodes are the important functional part of a plant where leaves, branches, flowers, fruits, and aerial roots originate on the stem. Nodes are responsible for proper propagation of the plant. 

Always New branches and flowers will rise from the node of the plant. Below first photo shows growing of a branch from the node above the leaf.

In Second photo it is clearly visible of growth of a flower from the node of a plant. There are Axillary buds at nodes of the leaf. they develop in to flowers and branches. 

When pruning a Bonsai plant or any plant, a cut should only be made above the node, so regrowth of the plant will be proper. It will then be able to grow new leaves and branches from the lower portion a stem of the plant. In Bonsai, conventional method of cutting and pruning is always above the node of a leaf of a stem. To maintain height of a Bonsai plant remove the top bud , then the axillary buds becomes active and many new branches will develops from the leaf axil. Allow the new branches to develop 6 to eight pars of leaves, then remove the top bud of the branch, then there new branches will develop on the primary branch. The plant will have a bushy growth with manybranches.
Bonsai plants are replica of miniature form of  tree growing in nature. Any time height of the Bonsai plant will remain small when compared to the huge trees growing in nature. Shohin or mame or small Bonsai, the plant looks prettier with having lower branches at the base of the stem. Training a Bonsai plant is more like a art. For having more branches at the base of the trunk line is to make a cut above the leaf as shown in the picture. The photo explains if  a cut made above the leaf , lower branch becomes active , and chances of getting more branches at the lower level of the Bonsai tree are more.

                            This video explains how to make cut above the leaf .


Inter node is the part or space between two consecutive nodes. Inter nodes carry water, hormones, nutrients from one node to the other.  Any cut made at inter node make the portion of the stem to die back .
However, in some plants like dwarf conifers, evergreens, pinus taeda,Bald cypress,Norwey spruce,Thuja occidentalis,Yew, and Boxwood,inter nodes are shorter, which makes the leaves more dense. These plants can be made into ornamental shapes ( art of Topiary) by clipping or by pruning. These plants are also can be made in to Bonsai plants because of their shorter nodes,  they look so beautiful with dense foliage.

Leaves with shorter inter nodes                Pine plant under training
The response of Bonsai plant is very important after cutting and pruning. In some instances if proper cut is not made at right place there are chances of survival of the plant becomes less. My advice is to study the nature and species of the plant, and observe the proper technique and cut above the node, before considering to decapitating for trunk taper or not.
Bonsai  became a Art , it is once imagination and creativity makes the plant Stand tall with its beauty among other plants.
Mr. Masahiko Kimura is a great Bonsai artist from japan, he is also called magician of Bonsai because his creations are like just painters brush stokes  which gives a wonderful look to Bonsai plants.  He revolutionized the Art of Bonsai from traditional way of training in to modern Contemporary Art.

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